La Soufrière, the Explosive Saint Vincent Volcano is Causing Worry Among Vincentian Citizens

Nya Crea

One of the most beautiful Islands in the Caribbean is now headlining the news because of its sudden volcano eruption.

La Soufrière, called Soufra In Vincentian, has been dormant for decades and it is now showing its devastating power.

Tons of ashes and debris have covered the streets, causing worry and forcing some of the closest inhabitants to leave their homes after an emergency plan of evacuation was put in place by the government.

A tweet by Prime minister Ralph Gonsalves says:

I have issued an evacuation order to all residents living in the RED ZONES on the North East and the North West of the Island. All residents are asked to act accordingly with immediate effect to ensure their safety and that of their families.

Also the company Royal Caribbean has offered their help by sending five cruise ships to help the evacuation, while also Carnival Corporation has contributed to the cause.

A few proximity islands as Barbados, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Guyana have offered hospitality and emergencies supply to the population.
Image by Ernie A. Stephens from Pixabay

Over 4500 people have left their homes, and it might be four months or more before they will be able to return, depending on the severity of the damage.
Ph Credits: Instagram Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

During this time where the world is facing a global pandemic emergency, the evacuation has not been carried on without any protocol COVID19 difficulties which have forced the volunteers to keep shelters to a closed number.

The volcano had always been a concern for the Vincy population, but it hasn't raised any worries since 1979 when a devastating eruption had destroyed the land causing over 100 m$ damage. The most devastating eruption took place in 1902, killing more than 1600 people.

Once again, this force of nature is covering the once sunny Sky of this beautiful lost paradise that is the Island of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Ph Credits: Instagram - @jusjahmagazine

White-coloured ashes and debris have covered the streets lowering visibility and slowing traffic and so making the evacuation more challenging, ruining cultivations and hindering water resources, forcing Vincentians to lock themselves inside their homes to avoid breathing the volcano dusts.

Chief Medical Officer Kenneth George urged its citizens to stay at home and shelter from the dangerous sulphur scents the volcano is releasing.

"Unless you have reason to be outside, stay in your house. This is to protect yourselves and your family,"

If the eruption wasn't enough, as a consequence of the evacuation, the Island has seen its crime rising, with looting and violence on the streets.

The volcano explosion has estimated to have reached 10 km high giving way for other explosions to possibly happen in the next days or even weeks.

I had the chance to interview Melissa, a local resident that told me about her personal experience and what it meant to have her mother living close to the volcano:

The people closest to me are terrified because no one ever thought that they were ever going to be a witness of such a horrific experience. They are concerned about the way forward after this disaster. Presently no one is yet to fully adjust to the situation because persons are still traumatized from the experience and due to continuous eruptions it is even more difficult to adapt.
My experience with my mom living in proximity to the volcano was horrible. I panicked every second especially when the volcano erupted and I could have seen all the plumes in the sky as they surpassed the clouds. Ash covered the house roofs and roads as though thick layers of cement were paved onto them. The roaring sound of the volcano was heard loud as if it was located next door. As early as 4:00 p.m. the place was in darkness due to the tremendous amount of ash that covered the sky. My mom was calm because this was her second time experiencing the eruption of the volcano. Her first encounter was the one that took placed April 13, 1979. Her concern was that this time around the eruption was worse than before because she did not experience the high level of ash fall and the smell of sulphur. Although the area was listed as a safe zone, it seemed as though it was in the danger zone and I was scared for her life.

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